Editorial: The Wall That Divides Us

President Donald Trump, who is in his words a “master negotiator,” is having a difficult time sealing the deal with House Democrats to build a wall between the United States’ southern border and Mexico.

Although Trump promised Americans the wall would be paid for by Mexico during his election campaign, he has asked Congress for $5.7 billion for building funds.

Proponents of the wall say it will enhance safety, help the economy by employing workers, reduce illegal drug cartels and aid National Border Patrol workers.

Wall opposers argue some issues with building a wall are geographical and ecological issues possibly causing a major carbon footprint, funding (the reason behind the current shut down), hurting the economy and resulting in inflation causing “common” jobs often done by illegal workers to have a higher pay rate. Opposers add that illegal immigrants will still find a way into the country and building a wall would hurt the reputation of the United States with the rest of the world.

A power struggle between wall supporters and opponents has resulted in the longest government shutdown in American history. Regardless of personal or political beliefs about the wall, this debate is affecting 800,000 government employees working without pay or furloughed, many of them living paycheck to paycheck.

The government said federal employees will receive back pay when the shutdown is over, but that doesn’t go very far with Americans who relied on their missed paychecks to pay last week’s bills. Political figureheads in both parties are more concerned with their egos and less willing to compromise at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and government workers.

Perhaps members of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other politicians involved in this debate should skip a paycheck, too.

Trump should’ve been willing to make an agreement with Congress from the start.

The wall has been a highly unliked ideology among many Americans since Trump’s candidacy, and according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 60 percent opposed the wall in January 2018.

It was naive for him to believe this would go over smoothly and he would completely get his way. On the other hand, Congress members and politicians in opposition to the wall should have known this debate was coming sooner or later and planned different proposals for the president.

Neither side is willing to work with the other to reach an agreement or compromise, and innocent Americans are being hurt in the process.

With or without the wall, Trump and members of Congress need to stop being stubborn, swallow their pride and restore government funding so government employees are no longer in the crossfire, without crying national emergency.

Editor’s Note* In an earlier version of this editorial, Trump was grouped with other political figures that were suggested to skip a paycheck. Trump has not taken a paycheck since assuming office. This is factually incorrect and has since been corrected.

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